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Christian PorterRevolutionising Australia’s welfare system by focusing on improving the individual lives of people trapped in it is how Social Services Minister Christian Porter last week described his new reform agenda.

The Minister announced details of the government’s Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare in a landmark address to the National Press Club where he outlined the findings of a new report about what is happening to people in the welfare system.

Called the Baseline Valuation Report, it applies the type of algorithmic and actuarial analysis used by the insurance industry to predict the likely movement on, off and between welfare payments for specific groups of people over their future lifetime and the likely welfare cost of target groups. 

This new analysis highlighted three groups of people with particular risk of long-term welfare dependency:

  • 11,000 young carers, who on average will access income support in 43 years over their future lifetime;
  • 4,370 young parents, who on average will access income support in 45 years over their future lifetime; and
  • 6,600 young students, who on average will access income support in 37 years over their future lifetime.

The analysis also showed the total estimated future cost of the welfare system for Australia’s current 24 million people was $4.8 trillion.

According to Minister Porter, the moral imperative is to improve individual prospects for a better life, made meaningful by employment, community contribution and self-reliance.

The Minister is seeking ideas for new policy interventions to achieve these goals and has set up a $96 million Try, Test and Learn Fund which will open by the end of the year for not-for-profit organisations, governments, and industry to pitch their ideas.

For more information about the government’s Priority Investment Approach and the Try, Test and Learn Fund, please click here.  Make sure you subscribe here to receive alerts when new information is made available, as the government is yet to announce how the $96 million Fund will operate.

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